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Map, World, Mercator’s Projection, Wall, Williams, Dumpling Rock Lighthouse, Antique Print, 1842


W. Williams (act. c. 1842-1867)
The World
Butler & Long, Philadelphia (printer)
Edward C. Biddle, Philadelphia (map seller)
W. Williams, Philadelphia: 1842
Hand-colored engraved wall map
Varnished, backed on linen, mounted on wood rollers
26.5 x 28.25 inches, map
32.5 inches wide, with roller
Provenance: Levi Smith, Dumpling Rock Lighthouse

Rare wall map of the world by Philadelphia engraver W. Williams, mounted on rollers with the original varnish finish. Inset detail maps in the corners are an interesting and offbeat selection including “Map of Palestine or the Holy Land,” “Sandwich Islands Discovered by Cook 1778” (present day Hawaiian Islands) and “Map of the American Colony of Liberia, on the West Coast of Africa” with a smaller inset “Plan of the Town of Monrovia.”  Smaller inset detail maps lower center show Pitcairn’s Island, Juan Fernandez Island and Norfolk Island with brief texts providing when they were discovered by European explorers and almanac information.  Williams engraved numerous maps for other publishers, but existing maps published under his own imprint are scarce.  Standard biographies state that he was active beginning 1850, but this map is copyrighted 1842, which establishes that he was working earlier than had been previously known.


The map shows nations, towns, rivers and lakes.  Mountain ranges are indicated by shading.  Some boundaries are shaded with brown coloring.  Tracks of explorers are shown in the oceans, including Cook, Furneaux, Weddell, Vancouver and de La Perouse, and dates of discovery of some places are noted.  Present-day Alaska is labeled “Russian Territ’y” with the waters to its north labeled “Icy Ocean.”  The map is bordered by a design incorporating two rows of Greek keys and numbered circles indicating longitude and latitude.

The map is inscribed in ink on the front and verso to Levi Smith, keeper of the Dumpling Rock Lighthouse near New Bedford, Massachusetts, a major maritime center for shipbuilding and whaling in the 19th century.  The map was presented to Smith by Charles Waln Morgan (1796-1861) and his nephew Samuel Griffitts Morgan (1816-1893), both of whom were whaling agents in New Bedford, “as a mark of esteem for himself and of their appreciation for HIS CHOWDER,” as they whimsically note on the back. As also noted in the inscription, Charles was originally from Philadelphia.  He owned several businesses, including one supplying lighthouses. Part of Smith’s job as keeper was to watch for ships entering the bay and approaching New Bedford Harbor and signal the merchants so they could prepare their goods for sale to the new arrivals.  Smith was the first keeper of the Dumpling Rock Lighthouse, from its opening in 1828 until 1856.  The lighthouse was rebuilt in 1890 and eventually torn down in 1942 and replaced by a tower with an automated light.

As an interesting historical aside, Samuel Griffitts Morgan was also a benefactor of the Hampton Institute, a school in Virginia established in the 1860s for the education of African-American youth.  At the request of its director, Morgan paid the tuition for the promising young student Booker T. Washington (1865-1915), who went on to become a distinguished, nationally known educator.  Washington acknowledges Morgan’s assistance in his autobiography, Up from Slavery, noting that later in life he was able to visit Morgan and personally thank him.  Both of the Morgans were prominent citizens of New Bedford.   Charles Waln Morgan’s papers are in the collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

W. Williams was a Philadelphia engraver, active from at least 1842 to 1867.  He engraved maps for the map publishers S.A. Mitchell and William C. Woodbridge, and for guidebooks published by his own firm and other companies, such as Appleton.  He also produced maps of the Holy Land and the world under his own imprint.

Edward C. Biddle (1808-1893) was a Philadelphia print and book publisher.  He is best known as one of the publishers of McKenney and Hall’s famous lithograph portfolio of Native Americans, History of the Indian Tribes of North America (1837-1844).  Biddle’s firm was located on Fifth and Minor Streets during the 1830s and 1840s, and later on South Third Street.

Full publication information: “Engraved & Published by/ W. Williams, 18–Philadelphia–42. Printed by Butler & Long. Sold by Edward C. Biddle S.W. Corner of 5th and Minor Sts. Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1842 by W. Williams, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.”

Handwritten inscriptions: “Levi Smith from, S. Griffitts & Charles Waln Morgan. See Inscriptions on the other side” (front) and “Levi Smith of Dumpling Rock Lighthouse from his friends S. Griffitts, Morgan of New Bedford and Chas. Waln, Morgan of Philadelphia as a mark of their esteem for himself and of their appreciation of HIS CHOWDER. April 22nd 1847” (verso).


“Biddle, Edward C.” Library Company of Philadelphia Digital Collections. 2012. (18 July 2013).

D’Entremont, Jeremy. “Dumpling Rock Light, Dartmouth, Massachusetts.” New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide. 23 December 2011. (17 July 2013).

“Inventory of the Charles Waln Morgan Papers in the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library.” New Bedford Whaling Museum. 2011-2013. (17 July 2013).

Minter, Julie. “Booker Taliaferro Washington.” West Virginia Historical Society Quaterly.  Vol. 13, No. 3 July 1999. (17 July 2013).

Additional information


19th Century